New US building codes to benefit PU, EPS insulation - BASF

26 January 2011 19:18  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS)--Upcoming changes to US building codes will dramatically improve demand for insulation based on polyurethane (PU) and expandable polystyrene (EPS), the leader of BASF’s North American construction markets group said on Wednesday.

“We'd expect to see a low double-digit increase in the amount of insulation used for each unit,” said Jack Armstrong in an interview with ICIS.

In late 2010, the basis for building codes across the US - the International Code Council’s International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) – was modified, Armstrong explained.

The new version, which will be issued in 2012, requires new and renovated homes and commercial buildings to use 30% less energy than those built to prior standards.

Other changes include requiring continuous air barriers for the building envelope of commercial buildings and mandatory air infiltration tests on residential buildings to ensure envelope efficiency.

The changes favour increased demand for rigid foam insulation, Armstrong said, because it is both efficient and air-tight. Consumption of fiberglass insulation may not decline in absolute terms, he added, but PU and EPS foams will quickly gain share.

“We'd expect to see a low double-digit increase in the amount of insulation used for each unit,” said Armstrong.

Similar changes are taking place around the world, even in Asia, he noted.

 “We see, especially in Canada and northern Europe, very very strong mandates toward building performance,” Armstrong said.

For example, a new EU directive requires that all residences must be net zero energy by 2021, and all commercial buildings by 2019. Some member states are even advancing the deadlines.

As a result, Armstrong is bullish on the market.

“We're going to see a really robust increase in growth in insulation,” he said.

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By: Clay Boswell
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